“If I’m being honest…”
“To tell the truth…”
You’ve heard all this before. Trust is an important part of our lives, and the social landscape is not an exception. We want to trust and be trusted in both our personal and professional relationships, whether we’re interacting online or in person.
Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way we want them to, and trust can become a major roadblock to success. In 2007, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that 81% of global respondents refused to buy products or services from a company they did not trust.
Other results of this survey show that when buyers don’t trust a company:
- 74% criticized them to people they know
- 70% refused to invest in them
- 50% refused to work for them
- 45% ignored their attempts to communicate with them
Online and off, relationships can’t thrive without a foundation of trust. When present, trust can accelerate purchase decisions, streamline internal operations, facilitate innovation and improve adoption of new offerings.
Building trust for your B2B brand can be a challenge, especially online. Social networks are known for being rife with exaggeration, with users playing fast and loose with the truth. Breaking through this inherent distrust is important if you want to build your brand reputation.
How can you build trust in your B2B brand using social media? Try these tips to ensure your online reputation shines bright:
Be up front.
Respond openly to support inquiries you receive via social media. If you can’t help or need a little time to find the right response, say so. People understand you don’t have all the answers, and taking the time to find the right one is better than winging it with the wrong information.
Do what you say.
If you promise to follow-up later, post more info or do anything else online, be sure you follow-up. This is especially important if the person tasked to follow through is someone else on your team. Make sure you communicate social media commitments properly so they don’t fall through the cracks.
You can’t share everything online, so be smart about what you do post. Case studies and client examples are great for building credibility, but violating customer confidentiality is not. If a customer sees sensitive information from another customer leak out on social media, they’ll worry that they can’t trust you with their own info. Protect what you agree to protect.
Don’t steal content or IP.
In your quest to post great content to your social media sites, don’t bend the rules and use material that’s not yours without permission. Sure, it can be tempting to borrow from some “obscure site,” to round out a post, but you’ll be busted eventually (whether you know it or not).
Respect copyright and trademarks.
Scraping photos from other websites, inappropriate or confusing use of trademarks and violation of copyright is a good way to erode your reputation. You may think “it’s nothing,” but companies work hard to build value in their intellectual property. Showing you don’t respect their ownership is a red flag that you might bend the rules elsewhere. When does it stop?
Share the limelight by giving credit for ideas, including tips and suggestions others provide. If someone allowed you to use a piece of content, or if they found something awesome that you want to pass along, say where it came from. Being will to share the credit shows that you can be trusted.
Showing gratitude when it’s due helps build trusting relationships. Be sure to say thank you publicly to your social media connections whenever you can. Thank people for commenting, sharing, retweeting, and so on. Appreciation makes people feel valued and trusted, feelings they’re likely to reciprocate.
When it comes to trust, social media and your B2B brand, focus on creating – and keeping – honest and open communications to sustain strong customer relationships. Trust me, it will pay off.